The University of Southampton

Physics and Astronomy in the media

Published: 18 December 2017
Dr Poshak Gandhi's work made the cover of Nature Astronomy magazine

Staff and students from Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southampton often feature in the media for their research, achievements and expert opinion. Here’s a round-up of some of our most recent achievements:

Gravitational waves

The direct detection of gravitational waves from a collision of two neutron stars featured on the cover of the journal Nature. Professor Mark Sullivan and Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Cosimo Inserra were part of the ePESSTO collaboration which led the electromagnetic observation of this new neutron star event.

In Our Time

Professor Nick Evans featured on an expert panel exploring the work of Carl Friedrich Gauss on BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time.

Gauss is widely viewed as one of the greatest mathematicians of all time, with achievements in his lifetime including the first electromagnetic telegraph and proving the fundamental theorem of algebra.

Listen to the full episode here.

Black hole beams

Research carried out by astronomer Dr Poshak Gandhi made the cover of this month’s online version of Nature Astronomy magazine.

Dr Gandhi was afforded the rare honour thanks to his journal paper investigating relativistic jets – ultra-powerful beams of energy that blast out from the vicinity of black holes. The research measured how quickly these beams ‘switch on’ and start shining brightly once they are launched.

White dwarf stars

A discovery surrounding the ‘feeding habits’ of white dwarf stars has been published in the journal Nature, revealing for the first time that the stars slowly grow by gaining mass in magnetically controlled sudden bursts.

The research, led by former Southampton PhD student Dr Simone Scaringi and co-authored by Physics and Astronomy’s Professor Christian Knigge, examined several years’ worth of data on the binary star MV Lyrae from NASA’s space-based Kepler observatory.

Supermassive black holes

Research led by Dr Francesco Shankar has featured in the Hampshire Independent for finding that the supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies may on average be smaller than expected.

The results from an international team of scientists demonstrated that biased selections have overestimated black hole masses.

View the article on page 10 of November 3rd edition via the paper’s PageSuite portal.

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